What it Means to Live One Day at a Time in Recovery
If you have ever been to treatment or known someone who has attended drug or alcohol addiction treatment, you may have heard the saying, “ live one day at a time ”. The phrase is not just a common encouragement, it holds great meaning representing the gratitude an individual feels about their sobriety, and the importance of it presently. Exploring this common addiction recovery phrase and the importance of carrying it out can help us to live each day as they come so that we may remain sober and grateful.
To “Live One Day at a Time” through AA
Although not taken from one of the 12 steps, Alcoholics Anonymous and their “Big Book” are attributed for the phrase, “live one day at a time”. It derives from the original concept of AA which is that each individual each has 24 hours of sobriety. Essentially, this means that each individual has a daily obligation to feed their spiritual needs, including managing their own sobriety. There is no cure for addiction, just a responsibility to the self upon each new day to remain sober. This allows individuals in recovery to not have to fret over a commitment to sobriety forever, but only the present day. Taking sobriety on for today is an easier pill to swallow than forever, and allows an individual to feel comfortable with their recovery goals.
Being Present throughout Recovery
To “live one day at a time” is to focus on the present moment, and not have to worry about the past or future. Recovering individuals will likely feel guilt and shame about their past addictive behaviors, and this can be a trigger to use. Also, recovering individuals may be unsure about their future and anxious for the unknown, which can also be a trigger to use. Focusing on the goals and mission of the present moment allows these individuals to work on developing useful coping skills now, so that they are prepared for the future and able to handle the past.
Committing to Living One Day at a Time
Not only is a person committing to living today sober, but they are also committing to doing all that staying sober entails throughout the next 24 hours. These commitments include:
- Keeping a positive attitude
- Taking on one problem at a time
- Expanding knowledge in some way
- React amiably to others and do good towards them
- A focus on loving the self through meditative techniques
- A willingness to step outside of a comfort zone to try new things
One Day at a Time; One Problem at a Time
During addiction treatment and recovery, individuals are swarmed with emotions they have been running from through active addiction. It can seem challenging, overwhelming, and nearly impossible to deal with every emotion that comes to play. Taking recovery one day at a time means also dealing with these emotions one at a time, as they come. It’s much easier to deal with present problems rather than to worry about all of the problems and become stressed. When a person works on what is in front of them rather than worry about tomorrow’s issues, they are more likely to handle what is in front of them and be prepared for the next day as it comes.
Utilizing Mindfulness throughout Recovery to Remain Present
It doesn’t simply just take repeating the phrase, “ live one day at a time ” to remain present. It takes a willingness to stay focused and a commitment to a changed thought and perception. This is easier said than done. One technique that can help an individual in recovery to learn to remain in the present moment is mindfulness meditation. This is meditation with an inner focus on emotions, issues, and goals of the present. With practice and patience, meditation can help to shape mindset and help an individual remain in the present moment so that successful long-term recovery is achieved.
Ready to Live One Day at a Time?
Are you ready for a change of mindset so that you can live in the present moment and fight your addiction one day at a time? The Discovery Institute can provide you with the skill set, knowledge, and healing that you need to live a successful live in recovery. You don’t have to be addicted forever! You CAN get help and stay clean if you take each day at a time and practice being present in this moment. Have questions about what treatment is like at our facility, what we offer, and how to enroll? Give us a call to speak with an addiction specialist confidentially at 844-433-1101.
Dr. Joseph Ranieri D.O. earned his BS in Pharmacy at Temple University School of Pharmacy in 1981 and His Doctorate Degree in Osteopathic Medicine at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1991. He is Board Certified by the American Board of Family Medicine and a Diplomate of the American Board of Preventive Medicine Addiction Certification. Dr. Ranieri has lectured extensively to physicians, nurses, counselors and laypeople about the Disease of Addiction throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania since 2012.